Are you considering replacing your windows this summer? If so, you might be wondering which is the best option for you. One of the most common questions we are asked is whether vinyl replacement windows or fiberglass replacement windows are best. The answer is not always that simple, which is why we have put together this article with the three best questions to ask when choosing between vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows to help you make the right choice.
The Benefits of Replacement Windows
Before we get into the difference between vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows, let us first talk about a few of the key benefits of replacing your windows. Perhaps one of the most important benefits of replacing your windows is they help to air seal your home. Air leakage is one of the biggest impacting factors when considering the energy efficiency of your home. By replacing your windows, you will help ensure any gaps will not appear between the window and the frame as the seasons go by, which will make your home much more energy-efficient (good for the environment and your wallet!) Another great benefit of replacing your windows is it can offer you greater home comfort by eliminating drafts and reducing the noise from outside penetrating inside. For people who live in a bustling community or on a busy street, you would certainly appreciate the sound difference.
Which Performs Better – Vinyl or Fiberglass Windows?
This is perhaps the most common question asked when deciding between vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows. And, while most insulation for your home is made up of fiberglass, you would imagine a window frame made of fiberglass would be more energy efficient than a vinyl frame of similar quality. However, the truth is that the frame material itself is only a small portion of the R-Value calculation of the entire window.
Additionally, many vinyl windows are extruded with multiple chambers for trapped air, or are often filled with a rigid or injected foam. What does this mean? It essentially means premium vinyl window frames provide more total efficiency when compared to fiberglass. Yet as we know, most of a replacement window is made of glass, which means the glass you choose plays a significant role in the performance of your window. When you put that all together it basically means a well-made vinyl frame with Energy Star Qualified glass will most often be more energy efficient than a fiberglass frame.
Which is More Cost-Effective?
Another good question we often get asked is the price difference between vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows. When it comes to the cost of fiberglass windows, they will almost always be more expensive than vinyl. While some home improvement contractors out there charge high prices for vinyl replacement windows, fiberglass windows will almost always come in at a higher price point. Typically, fiberglass replacement windows are generally up to 50% or more expensive than vinyl.
Does Vinyl or Fiberglass Look More Like Wood?
Having the look and feel of wooden windows (without the disadvantages that come with wood windows) is a priority for many homeowners. So, which resembles wood more closely – vinyl or fiberglass? Some vinyl windows have a synthetic look and feel, which can be undesirable. Fiberglass, on the other hand, has a closer appearance to that of wood windows. The reason vinyl does not look like wood is the fact it has fusion-welded joinery, and while this kind of fusion weld offers several benefits (strength of construction, elimination of fasteners and weather tightness), many homeowners enjoy the finish and wood-like appearance of fiberglass. However, many premium vinyl windows are designed to model wood and partially bridge the aesthetic gap between fiberglass and vinyl.